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Simon d'Artois narrowly misses World Cup podium

The Whistler native was fourth on Jan. 21 as fellow Canadian Noah Bowman edged him out for bronze, while Rachael Karker won a second silver medal in Calgary

Freestyle skier Simon d'Artois came within one point of earning his second FIS World Cup halfpipe bronze medal in as many days on Jan. 21 in Calgary, Alta. His top score of 89.50 points had him in podium position for most of the night, but fellow Canadian Noah Bowman inched ahead of him with a 90.50 at the last minute.

Bowman failed to land cleanly on each of his first two runs and had to collect himself to overtake d'Artois for third place. 

“It’s an amazing feeling! It was a new run for me, and I was determined to get it right in the final. I’m really happy that I managed to do it, and the bronze medal is like the icing on the cake. It’s a real confidence builder,” said Bowman in a release.

“It’s great to be able to ski here at home, in Calgary. I’m really lucky to be able to compete in front of my parents, my sister, my little nephew and my friends. This is a very special night for me!”

Americans Alex Ferreira (94.50) and Birk Irving (93.00) also performed brilliantly, claiming the two top spots on the podium for Team USA. 

Nonetheless, it was a successful business trip for Whistler's d'Artois, who managed to seize bronze on the first day of competition at Calgary's "Snow Rodeo." The 30-year-old out of the Blackcomb Freestyle Club finished 10th at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and was 13th at Pyeongchang 2018.

Brendan Mackay also participated in the final. The Calgarian had hoped to earn his third medal of the season after winning silver on Jan. 20, but had to settle for eighth place with 70.50 points.

Mackay now holds third place overall in the standings for the discipline, with 192 points, behind Irving (220) and Ferreira (200).

Double-dipping

Rachael Karker dug deep to claim her third medal in as many events this season, finishing second on Saturday night in windy conditions at the World Cup in Calgary.

“It feels great to win a second silver medal at home! It’s been a big week. I was pretty tired today, but I pushed myself hard in order to reach the podium. I knew what I was capable of and I’m proud of the way I skied,” said the Guelph, Ont. native in a release. 

The 25-year-old athlete once again put up a fight against Eileen Gu of China. Gu, who is the defending world and Olympic halfpipe ski champ, put on quite a show: her score of 93.50 on Run #2 allowed her to pull ahead of Karker, who finished with 85.50 points. Kexin Zhang of China (81.75) completed the podium.

“Competing against such talented girls is really challenging, every time. The wind made the conditions a bit difficult tonight, and the course was slower, but we still put on a good show,” noted Karker. “It was a great atmosphere and I’m very happy with my performance.”

Dillan Glennie (Courtenay, B.C.) and Amy Fraser (Calgary) also took part in the women’s final. They finished sixth and seventh, respectively, with scores of 73.75 and 63.75.

Local skier Emma Morozumi was the only other Canadian to compete in this second event in Calgary. She placed 12th in the qualifiers and was therefore not among the top eight who advanced to the finals.

Thanks to her second silver medal of the week, Karker retains the lead in the overall World Cup standings, with a total of 360 points. She is followed by Gu (200) and Fraser (166).

“My goal this season is to win the Crystal Globe, and I’m happy with my results so far. It’s looking good right now, but there’s still a lot of work to do, so I’ll be ready for the next World Cup events,” concluded Karker.

The next World Cup halfpipe event will take place at Mammoth Mountain in California from Feb.1 to 3.

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